Our District tried a new event this year, a Cub Scout Lock In, at the YMCA. The event combines the District Pinewood Derby (traditionally held at the spring Scout Show) with a night of fun and games—swimming, basketball, video games, jumping on mats and running around until 1:00 in the morning. A good time was had by all.
Fifty Years (and More) of Fun
Although the Lincoln Heritage Council’s Scoutorama dates back 50 years, it’s an outgrowth of an older activity. Scouter Bob Rudd, who attended the area’s very first Scoutorama, said the event grew out of Scout circuses held in the 1940’s by what was then the Old Kentucky Home Council.
The circuses looked more like trade shows, with rows of booths where Boy Scout troops and Explorer posts demonstrated Scouting skills and merit badge requirements.
“Since many of the Scout leaders worked in jobs involving electricity, carpentry, masonry, railroading, plumbing, and the like, these types of merit badges were always promoted,” Rudd said.
Highlights of early Scoutoramas included chariot races, wall-scaling competitions, tower building, even concerts. In 1961, for example, the Old Kentucky Home Council Boy Scout Band offered three “concert and dance-band programs.”
The band went silent long ago, but many traditions have endured, including unit displays, the “pushmobile” races, and the country store. Something else has stayed constant as well.
“Scoutorama was, is, and always has been the foremost public demonstration of Scouting in action for the Louisville community to see and appreciate,” Rudd said.
I did a tour of duty as District Activities Chair before being tapped out as Scoutmaster. The Committee didn’t quite know what to do with the Scout-o-Rama, our annual Scout Show held each spring, rotating between cities in our district. The mall in the largest city on the Minnesota side of the district had seen better days. The mall in the largest city on the South Dakota side of the district at least still has their anchor department store. Some Councils charge for tickets to Scout-O-Rama but we couldn’t give away prizes if we tried… and my home units never attended so I didn’t have much perspective to attract participants. We needed to do something to re-invigorate this long-time event.
Last year our district fused the Scout-O-Rama with Spring Camp-o-Ree for a Camp-O-Rama at a centrally-located county fairgrounds. It was a great time, with all of the events held outdoors except for the District Pinewood Derby. This year our Camp-o-Rama is at beautiful Camp Shetek. However, Camp doesn’t have a large indoor facility like the fairgrounds, so this was a good time to try something different moving the derby to a separate event.
I’m a fairly died-in-the-wood traditionlist when it comes to Scouting. I love trying new things, but at the end of the day the best things are usually the tried-and-true. It’s a difficult balance to hold on to the treasures of our fathers without locking out the dreams of our sons.